If you are a degree seeking student or PhD-candidate under the age of 27, and planning to stay in Utrecht for a year or more, it is probably wise to register with SSH Regular Accommodation for unfurnished longer term housing in students’ residences.
SSH is the largest student housing corporation in Utrecht. Most students who are enrolled at a Dutch educational institution can register with SSH to be eligible for a room in the Utrecht area. On their website, SSH refers to this as ‘Regular accommodations’. It is recommended to register with SSH ‘Regular accommodation’ as soon as you have decided to come to Utrecht, as it will increase your chances to find a place to stay after the first year.
Unfortunately, the waiting time for SSH ‘regular’ long term accommodation is considerable, from three months to over 18 months, depending on the time of the year and the location. In September, the demand for housing is very high, and even if you register with SSH upfront, it is not very likely that you will find accommodation this way on time for the start of the semester. However, some of their residences require a shorter waiting time, and sometimes they have temporary projects that are more quickly available (such as temporary unfurnished rooms).
It is tradition in Utrecht, like in many other Dutch university cities, that current tenants ‘select’ their new housemate at a so called ‘present yourself’-night. This typical phenomenon is called ‘hospiteren’ in Dutch and it applies to all types of shared student accommodation, including the Regular Accommodation by SSH. It means that if you have found a room in a shared house or flat, you have to be ‘voted in’ (elected) by the other residents. This can be quite competitive. It is not unusual that it takes several ‘hospiteer’ attempts before you are actually accepted. Still, registering with SSH for ‘Regular accommodation’ as soon as you know you will come to Utrecht will increase your chances to find a place to stay, especially after the first year.
If you intend to stay in the Netherlands even more permanently, you can register with the regional social housing service named Woningnet. SSH offer a combined registration for student housing and Woningnet.